Travel from the city centre was plain sailing. Yes, there was traffic just before the round-a-bout by Barton, but other than that, we got there in time. Next time, I'll just set off that little bit earlier, leaving more time to socialise at the new Shark Tank with my new Shark friends!
I've already watched games at Barton. Salford Reds share the ground and I was happy to watch the other code. Last night however, was what I've been waiting for all summer and it was the first time in the South Stand... loved it! I stood with my friends behind the goal posts at the very front (which was nifty, as the wall provided a great drink stand). It was a great view and I struggled to quash the urge to go and run out onto the pitch, it looked so good! Also I was very pleased to see Deuchars beer being served at the kiosk.
Sale Sharks were against Leinster, the powerhouse that have won the Heineken cup 3 times in the past 4 years. It may have been their second team, but they gave Sale a baptism of fire. The points did not come thick and fast and Sale, for a good 15-20 minutes, defended hard against Leinster in their own 22. Salvation came in the form of fellow Cumbrian, Rob Miller, who scored Sale's only try of the match, with Macleod converted it. We were first onto the score board with a penalty kick from new boy Danny Cipriani.
Who stood out for me? Andy Powell. The guy is a beast! And he showed power and strength on Friday. Even from almost the half way line, I could hear the thud of a Powell tackle, and you could hear him communicating to the other lads.
All in all, it wasn't the best match, but like Bryan Redpath said in the post-match interview, "they needed that". It showed some limitations that they need to work on. It may have been Leinster's second string side, but those guys played hard, and lets not forget, it was a friendly. So to end on a draw of 10-10 was not a bad outcome. I for one, am excited for the season to come.
And for those of you fretting about the car park situation, please don't. My friends and I hung around after the game for about 15 - 20minutes and then decided to get in the car and join the queue to leave the stadium. It took us less than 15 minutes to get back on the motorway and back into the city centre. No worries.
See you all in the South Stand at the Sarries game :)